tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS July 26, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
classified documents about the war in afghanistan leaked and posted on the web. at a time when more than 60% of americans believe the war is not going well, the documents provide some evidence to back that up. more than 91,000 were leaked to wikileaks dot-org which put 76,000 of them online. they are field reports from soldiers and officers involved in the fighting from january of '04 through last december. perhaps the most damning revelation is that pakistan's intelligence agency, i.s.i., is helping the taliban. the white house claims there's nothing really new in the documents, but spokesman robert gibbs says the leaks constitute a potential national security concern. david martin begins our coverage tonight. >> reporter: the avalanche of documents, most of them classified secret, shows how the u.s. has been losing the war in afghanistan one day at a time. >> the real story of this material is that it's war. it's one damned thing after
another. >> reporter: julian assange the head of wikileaks which posted the documents on the web hopes researchers will mine them for a real picture of the war. this new trove covers six years of war in afghanistan through kind of reports both accurate and inaccurate every commander receives at his morning briefing. >> small arms fire and rpg. >> reporter: for instance, this report of the first use of the heat-seeking surface-to- air missile against an american aircraft. a weapon that would cripple u.s. air power if the taliban ever got them in large numbers. most of the reports document what is already well known. for years the u.s. has not had enough troops in afghanistan. resulting in this record of a remote outpost calling for help as they are nearly overrun. we are taking casualties. enemy in the wild. the afghan government has been corrupt and inefficient. according to this document, the general view of the afghans is that the current government is worse than the taliban.
american air strikes and commando raids have killed too many civilians. this report describes a raid that was intended to take out a high-ranking al qaeda operative and ended up killing children instead. the pentagon says it will take days if not weeks to determine the damage done by the massive leak of classified material. bruce rideal who directed a review of the afghan war at the start of the obama administration says the sight of so many secret documents on the web is likely to discourage afghans from risking their lives to help the u.s. for fear of winding up on the internet and becoming targets. >> the intelligence collection in afghanistan has been hard from the get-go. to the extent this makes it harder, it makes the challenge of winning in afghanistan even harder than it was. >> reporter: military officers assume this was done by 22-year-old private first class bradley manning. he has already been charged with downloading this classified video of a helicopter gunship killing civilians in baghdad.
>> come on. >> reporter: that video subsequently showed up on wikileaks. and there's more to come. wikileaks claims it is getting 15,000 more documents ready for release. katie. >> couric: david martin at the pentagon, thank you. chief foreign affairs correspondent lara logan lived in afghanistan for a year at the beginning of the war. she's been back many times since. she's in the east african nation of uganda tonight on assignment for "60 minutes." lara, one of the revelations in these documents is that pakistan's intelligence agency is aiding the afghan insurgency, even planning attacks on american troops. how big a setback will this be for u.s.-pakistani relations? >> well, it's potentially a setback, katie. clearly the white house is concerned about that. because their relationship with pakistan is very sensitive. it's a complicated one. on the one hand pakistan is important ally. on the other hand, pakistan has known to be harboring al qaeda and the taliban from the beginning of this war.
but the obama administration has been quick to point to the fact that pakistan has been taking more action than in the past. these documents only go up to december of last year. at the same time, it is clear that al qaeda and the taliban still enjoy safe haven inside pakistan and fundamentally that hasn't changed. >> couric: one other revelation is that surface-to- air shoulder-fired missiles are being used by the taliban against allied aircraft. even though the military has never admitted this. why was the u.s. military keeping this a secret? >> because it's potentially a game-changer in the afghan war. that's exactly what it was in the war against the soviet occupation. and this is predominantly an air war. i mean there is so much that is done from the skies. helicopters are especially vulnerable. why would the u.s. want the taliban and al qaeda to know that they have a significant advantage on the battlefield? it doesn't serve u.s. tactical operational or even strategic interests in the war.
>> couric: also mentioned in these documents is the number of afghan civilians who have been killed. how do you think this will damage the war effort? >> well, the issue of civilian casualties is a major one. the u.s. has taken a lot of criticism because of this. however, what's interesting to note that is according to the documents, 195 afghan civilians have been killed. but also according to the documents 2,000 afghan civilians have been killed by the taliban which is more than 10 times the number said to be killed by u.s. and nato forces. very little is being made of that. the coverage would indicate that it's more of an issue for the u.s. to kill afghan civilians than it is for the taliban to do so so. >> couric: thanks very much. and now let's go to chip read at the white house. as we mentioned the white house seems to be downplaying these documents. why is that the case in your view? >> well, katie, they are trying to make it sound like this is really nothing new. they want the american people to understand that the white house was already aware of all
of these problems including the pakistani intelligence service and civilian casualties. >> the president does not need to read a leaked document on the internet today to be shocked and horrified by unnecessary... and every civilian casualty is unnecessary. >> they may be underestimating the problems here because, yes, people were aware and certainly if president was aware of the problem with civilian casualties but if we're now going to be bombarded for days on end with a long series of specific examples, that's going to make it more difficult for both the afghan people and the american people to support this war. >> couric: chip, did the administration try to stop the publication of these documents? >> they did not. they say they would have if it had only been the "new york times" with the information. but the fact that it was all over the web with the wikileaks website and also two european papers had it all, there was just nothing they could do to stop it, katie.
>> couric: what about the timing of all this, chip? >> it really comes at a critical juncture, katie. there's a bill on capitol hill to fund the afghan war. it was already a heavy lift. they want to get it passed before they go home for august recess in two weeks. this is going to make it even more difficult. >> couric: chip reid at the white house. thanks very much. freedom of the press versus national security. it's an age-old debate that is now being played out in an age of new media. jeff greenfield is here with more on that. jeff? >> reporter: katie, it is indeed a very old conflict. the press versus the government. this time it is coming with a twist. the massive release of documents came not from a news organization but from wikileaks, the three-and-a-half-year-old on- line site with no headquarters, no physical presence anywhere and with a history of releasing see decrees of all sorts from rule books from guantanamo to sorority initiation rituals. >> is this based on the truth. >> reporter: wikileaks founder 39-year-old australian julian
assange acknowledges that he has an agenda. >> we hope the release of this material will result in significant reforms in u.s. and allied policy in afghanistan. >> reporter: traditional media outlets don't talk that way. then wikileaks is completely unlike traditional media. for instance, newspapers often consult governments before publishing potentially damaging secrets. >> i think it requires a lot of judgment on the part of people who are gate-keepers. >> reporter: wikileaks released its afghan war diary with no consultations. there's another key distinction. back in 1971 when the nixon administration tried to stop the new york times from publishing the pentagon papers, classified history of vietnam, the public had the paper's history and reputation as a measuring rod. wikileaks is anonymous. which gives pause even to a lifelong defender of first amendment rights. >> it's not as if i have any information to suggest that they're highly trained in national security matters.
>> reporter: but does that matter anymore? one person with a laptop can reach as far as the biggest newspaper or tv network. if that person wants to publish, it's published. >> we're moving towards a society in which no secrets are safe. even though there is a need for some secrets. to some extent we're just going to have to get used to that. >> reporter: the press used to see itself as a gate keeper deciding what information was reliable enough to make public. now there are no gates, katie. >> couric: jeff, thanks very much. as we mentioned, the lead documents include numerous reports of civilian kass tewellees in afghanistan. coalition commanders say they take great pains to avoid them. today afghan officials claim 52 civilians were killed last friday by a nato rocket in helmand province in the south. nato promises a thorough investigation. in logar province hundreds of u.s. troops continued to search for a member of the
u.s. navy who is believed to be held by the taliban. the body of a second sailor was recovered today. the two men disappeared friday after being ambushed by insurgents. they were in afghanistan on a training mission. pakistan is not the only one of afghanistan's neighbors mentioned in these documents. iran is also accused of helping the afghan insurgents. but is it? richard rolt put that question to president mahmoud ahmadinejad in tehran today during this exclusive interview. >> reporter: an aide sitting out of camera range gestured his irritation at our questions about afghanistan. the president himself just flatly rejected the explosive charges in the leaked documents. you don't deny, mr. president, that iran supports the taliban. >> we do not support any group. we just and only support the afghan people. we support and we want to strengthen security in afghanistan. we think the afghan people should run their own country.
we think the root causes related to the intervention of the united states and nato, it's been for about 20 years that the americans are in afghanistan. >> reporter: afghanistan's not the only issue iran is confronting with the international community. it's alleged attempt to build a nuclear bomb has drawn new sanctions. >> let me ask you about sanctions, if i may. does it concern you that the people of iran may be feeling the effects now of sanctions that result from iran's nuclear policies? >> i think the policies by the europeans and americans are ridiculous. they think they are going to influence the life of the iranian society. in fact, they're imposing sanctions against themselves. iran is a great nation with a great population. we have vast and rich
resources. it's very much easy for us to overcome all problems. >> reporter: one unsolved problem is the 31-year freeze in relations with america. >> five years into your presidency, i sense that you feel an opportunity was missed for a reconciliation and accommodation with america? but you clearly don't feel that you missed the opportunity. >> please pay attention. i sent a letter to bush. that letter was a golden opportunity for the u.s. administration in order to change policy, and they should not continue the hostility. during my visit in new york, i said i would rather talk to president obama. after the election of mr. obama, i sent a message. on this occasion, the meeting, we said we would support changes. we are ready to help. >> reporter: i askd him, could that be in new york at the u.n. in september?
the president's reply "god willing." richard roth, cbs news, tehran. >> couric: and coming up next here on the "cbs evening news", b.p.'s big shake-up. the controversial british ceo is on his way out. an american may be on his way in. [ male announcer ] if you have type 2 diabetes, you struggle to control your blood sugar. you exercise and eat right, but your blood sugar may still be high, and you need extra help. ask your doctor about onglyza, a once daily medicine used with diet and exercise to control high blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. adding onglyza to your current oral medicine may help reduce after meal blood sugar spikes and may help reduce high morning blood sugar. [ male announcer ] onglyza should not be used to treat type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. tell your doctor if you have a history or risk of diabetic ketoacidosis.
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>> couric: now that the storm called bonnie has come and gone, work has resumed at the site of the oil spill. b.p. hopes to start plugging the well next week. but the big news on day 9 is the upcoming departure of b.p.'s ceo tony heyward. as kelly reports, an american is likely to take his place. >> reporter: for nearly two months tony heyward was the public face of the response in the gulf. >> i'm devastated by the accident. >> reporter: today he left the company's london head quarters in silence behind tinted glass, done in by his own words. >> the environmental impacts of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest. no one who wants this over more than i do. i would like lie life back. >> reporter: the final gaffe sailing off on his yacht as b.p.'s well kept gushing. the pile of p.r.mistakes along with a 40% drop in the company's stock left the board no choice but to remove him. heyward could walk away with a package worth $18 million or take a job with b.p.'s joint
venture in russia. either way, he'll reportedly be out as ceo october 1. his likely replacement? b.p.'s point man on the spill, bob dudley, raised near the gulf coast in mississippi. >> it's tragic. it's very apparent that it's very tragic. >> reporter: dudley would be b.p.'s first american kurri. the u.s. accounts for 40% of its profits. b.p. needs to win back its best customer. first, the run-away well has to be plugged for good. and b.p. now says that could take another three weeks. here's the time line. on monday they'll try the static chill pumping mud into the top of the well. then the following week they'll mud into the bottom of the well through that relief well. and if all goes as planned if weather cooperates, they could be done by mid august. katie. >> couric: kelly, thanks so much. we'll be right back. t cheerios . ...into a free year's supply? be one of thousands to win free honey nut cheerios for an entire year... its great taste
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>> couric: it's been more than 30 years since the horror of cambodia's killing field. today the chief jailer for the khmer rouge was ordered to serve 19 years in prison. more than 14,000 people died in the prison he ran in the late 1970s. some of the nearly two million killed by the militant communist regime. the former jailer known as doik is only the first of its members to face justice. in arizona medical mix-up has added to the anguish of two families. the family of 19-year-old abby was planning her funeral after being told she died in a car
crash last week. now dental records show it was her 21-year-old friend who died. she is in a phoenix hospital where the other girl's family sat vigil all last week thinking she was their daughter. now to australia where a group of sailors delivered a message on a bottle on 1250 plastic bottles to be exact. they were used to make a 60-foot catamaran held together by glue make from shug sugar and cashew nuts strong enough for the trip from san francisco all to raise awareness about pollution and the ocean. and coming up next, a cure for the uncommon heat in steve hartman's assignment america.
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about the weather, but nobody does anybody about it. well, tonight steve hartman does something about it. not the weather but the complaining. here's assignment america. >> reporter: this year july is a three-letter word. >> h-o-t. >> hot! >> reporter: and people are not happy. >> it is super hot. >> reporter: of course folks always whine about the weather. i've noticed this summer the complaints seemed especially heated. >> mother nature is disrespect today. >> reporter: and overstated. >> i feel like i'm melting. >> i felt like i was going to die. >> reporter: you would think there was lava in the streets. >> i'm so hot. i wish it was winter. >> reporter: oh, do you now? >> way too hot out here. >> reporter: how easily we forget. how much worse it could be. i went back in time today to remind us not only of what the weather could be like but what it will be like all too soon. welcome back. to the dead of winter. >> what do you have to say to
the people of the summer. >> appreciate every moment. >> you're not missing anything right now. it's miserable out. you don't want to be here. >> reporter: remember this? remember waking up to mount honda? last winter was the worst since 1978. with record cold stretching all the way to the gulf. fountains froze in raleigh. this was arkansas. need i show more? >> springtime, please hurry up. i can't take this weather. >> reporter: it's a classic example of the grass is always greener or more wonderfully dormant on the other side of the tree. i mean doesn't that look refreshing? doesn't that look refreshing? wouldn't it be great to be just be able to walk on over and warm up. >> cool off. >> reporter: in theory, yes. but whenever you want something you can't have, getting it or not is the last thing you really need. what we really need is to accept that humans are relatively delicate creatures. our comfort zone is a narrow sliver between 68 and 78 degrees.
sway either side of that and we get uncomfortable. we also need to start looking at the bright side of both seasons. in the winter, at least you can dress in layers. >> get too hot you can take them off. in the summer there's only so much you can take off without getting arrested. >> reporter: in the summer at least the rape doesn't pile up on your sidewalk. >> stay warm. >> reporter: steve hartman, cbs news, new york. >> couric: so clever that steve hartman. that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm katie couric. thanks for watching. i'll see you tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org [ female announcer ] this is a strawberry pop tart. but this is warm, fresh-baked strawberry toaster strudel. [ music ] see the difference? pillsbury toaster strudel,
the new mel rant about his own baby girl this. is "entertainment tonight." >> so [ bleep ] sorry i had a child with you. >> mel's tirade pass timothy dalton shows up at her home. >> well, you should go with [ bleep ] him. >> new details in the mel gibson investigation. >> i despise you. >> and new photos of gibson going to church? >> angelina jolie and kids in